Yeo & The Fresh Goods, Tin Can Radio, Hunz @ Club 299, 19.09.2009
By Denis Semchenko
The music played through 299’s PA is positively deafening on all of the venue’s three levels, while the live sound is only marginally subtler – an obstacle not even helped by my trusty earplugs – however the punishing decibels do little to detract me and fellow music lovers from appreciating tonight’s local talent trifecta. Having recently shared his magic with the Big Sound showcase attendees, raved-about Brissie moodytronica maestro Hunz leads his powerhouse rhythm section (featuring drums prodigy Richie Young) into another riveting performance. A passionate frontman as well as a ridiculously talented singer, songwriter and sonic architect, the erstwhile Hans Van Vliet is a familiar welcome sight as he attacks both his mic and modified synth, every syllable, note and move soaked with emotion and sheer intensity. Several choice tracks from acclaimed albums When Victims Fight and this year’s marvellous Thoughts That Move get an airing, Long Road, Soon, Soon and You Said Hello all packing wistful keyboard arrangements and humungous hooks. During the second half of the show, a laptop glitch prompts the digi-soul man to skip a song from the setlist, apologise to the crowd and bow out with another spirited vocal/musical display. My post-gig recommendation to the uninitiated? If you haven’t seen Hunz yet, by all means do it – you’ll be blown away.
Hailing from hippie-cum-yuppie central West End, genre-blenders Tin Can Radio kick off with a lengthy instrumental number containing enough syncopated rhythms and edgy guitar lines to keep The Mars Volta happy. Curly-haired singer Tom (also a full-time Fresh Goods member) maintains an invigorating stage presence throughout, shifting between guitar, trumpet and keyboard and practically never staying in the same spot during the set. Musically solid, the quartet’s near-constant stylistic mishmashes – one minute indie-pop, the other post-rock, then quasi-D&B – occasionally get disorienting, yet all bandmembers radiate genuine enthusiasm and get the audience’s feet moving to the dense bass and drum grooves. Culminating with a full-blown, feedback-spurting rockout, the Tin Can-sters thank us for the support and disembark the stage to painfully cranked intermission tunes.
Brisbane’s own geeky specs-sporting Prince/Curtis Mayfield/Andre 3000 v2.0, Yeo Choong is responsible for some of the funkiest good-time music to have recently come out of the River City and his live shows are firmly the stuff of local legend. On this balmy evening, the dude abides again – backed with gusto by his ever-Fresh Goods. Showman par excellence, Yeo jokingly refers to ace-drummer-around-town Richie as being “more famous than I am” (partially true as the skinsman extraordinare happens to lend his sticks to at least FIVE bands in town including, of course, Hunz) before continuing to reign over the party with his own brand of soul, funk and R&B. The now-ubiquitous keytar gets its fair dose of squelchy-sounding usage chez Yeo and keyboardist/backing singer Georgia Potter while towering bassist Mick Millard (aka the frontman of local prog-metallers Dead Letter Opener) provides ample hip-shaking pulse. Live favourites Two Sides Of A Door and Backflips In The Kitchen go down a storm, yet the show’s true piece de resistance is a triple-strength ‘90s hip hop medley consisting of highly infectious takes on Blackstreet’s No Diggity (replete with gleeful massed “hey Yeo!”-s), Dr Dre/Snoop Dogg’s Still D.R.E and Lauryn Hill’s That Thing (expertly rapped by Georgia). The “I can’t wait ‘til my exams are done” and “just one of those days” chants and a loud finish conclude the hand-clapping, foot-stomping funfest; I subsequently declare the Saturday night a total win.